Photo: ali_pk (flickr)
Wind energy is one of the fastest growing clean energy technologies, with thousands of turbines cropping up around the world.
But while many people celebrate the technology as a source of clean, renewable power, not everyone loves wind.
In fact, some people who live near large wind turbines claim that they cause headaches, sleep and moodproblems, dizziness, and other ailments known collectively as wind turbine syndrome.
So Is Wind Turbine Syndrome For Real?
It’s hard to say. The blade tips of a modern wind turbine can move through the air as fast as 180 miles per hour. And at that speed they can’t help but produce sound and vibration that could be annoying.
It’s also possible that wind turbines produce infrasound low frequency sounds that we can’t hear but that carry through the atmosphere and are thought by some scientists to cause breathing and digestive problems. Some people living near wind turbines claim that the noise is making them ill.
No Concrete Evidence…
But there’s no concrete scientific evidence supporting wind turbine syndrome. A 2010 study by the Ontario Ministry of Health found that wind turbines have no ill effects on wellbeing. Other studies have found that from a distance the average turbine emits around 45 decibels, which is about as loud as traffic on a residential street.
Whether or not wind turbine syndrome is real or imagined, turbine makers are experimenting with sound dampening systems to make the machines work as quietly as possible.
- Do wind turbines cause health problems? (HowStuffWorks)